Tuesday 28 January 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Black Condor

SH Figuarts Black Condor close up

With the S.H. Figuarts line maintaining a constant schedule of a handful of figures every month (both mass release and web exclusive), it's nearly impossible to keep on top of them without a sizeable wallet. As such my latest acquisition was actually released a few years ago, and is only now entering my collection as I try to fill the various Super Sentai shaped gaps. Black Condor is the second of the Chōjin Sentai Jetman to be released in the line, with the rest of the team still sadly absent despite making a brief appearance at the beginning of Akibaranger Season Tsuu. Still, if there was any one Jetman you'd want releasing, it's Gai Yuki...

That snazzy looking box from the front

Not much to say about the back reallyThe contents: What you see is what you get

There isn't a whole lot to say about the packaging for Black Condor, other than it really goes for that "simple but effective" feel that I love about late 80s/early 90s Super Sentai. It's the same design that was previously seen on the mass-release Red Hawk figure, however the black background works much better at making the gold text stand out. What also differs from the Red Hawk box is that this is a standard sized Figuart box, as it holds a single plastic tray/no Akibaranger inordinate power.

Black Condor stands heroically!

From the front......and from the back

Buying this figure much later than Red Hawk has really worked in its favour, as its reminded me just how much I love the Jetman aesthetic. The lack of a bicep swivel is beginning to feel much less of a problem as it did back when it did when Super Sentai was first hitting the Figuarts line properly, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't still somewhat noticeable. Still, once again black proves to work a lot better than red when it comes to these figures, striking a really nice contrast against the large areas of solid white and bright yellow highlights. And while there isn't a great deal of difference in the Jetman helmet designs, I think it's fair to say that Black Condor's looks much less like a stoned bird than Red Hawk's does.

Black Condor ready for badassery

Bird Blaster!Bringer Sword!

As far as articulation goes Black Condor utilises everything else seen on Super Sentai Figuarts aside from the aforementioned bicep swivel, so there's an excellent range of motion capable here. It obviously can vary figure by figure, but nothing feels notably tight. The two holsters are loose in the packaging, but peg on nicely to the sides of the belt and can be swung backwards or forwards should they be getting in the way of however you're posing the legs.

Jet Hand Cannon!(Inaccurate) Wing Gauntlet!

Accessories is the only area Black Condor falls short in, and that's only because they're 100% completely identical to the ones included with Red Hawk (sans the Jet Winger of course). So altogether that comes to a total of five pairs of hands (including those weird quote finger ones), alternate wings-spread backpiece, Bringer Sword, Bird Blaster, Jet Hand Cannon and Wing Gauntlet. So once again sadly no Beak Smasher. There's also a slight inaccuracy with the Wing Gauntlet here, as while the show featured each member having colour-coordinated ones here the fold out pieces are still red.

Wings Forever

Battling alongside Red HawkPartners, Rivals, Friends

My love for what I consider the most badass Sentai hero does blind me somewhat, so I'll try to look at Black Condor as objectively as I can. Red Hawk was an absolutely fantastic figure, and as pretty much exactly the same thing the same can be said about Black Condor. But that's the problem - it is EXACTLY the same figure other than colour. While one could argue that all Super Sentai figures are identical (well, the girls are slightly different), most of them at least have slightly different accessories. With Black Condor a colour swap is all the difference you're getting.

So really its a matter of why you're looking at the character in the first place - if you're a big Gai fan and/or are looking to complete the Jetman team (if the other three ever come out that is) then I can't recommend Black Condor highly enough - and luckily its a Web Exclusive you won't find yourself paying out the nose for. In fact, Bluefin Tamashii Nations still have it available to American customers even now. On the other hand, if you're just looking for a single Jetman for the collection, I have to say I recommend Red Hawk a lot more. He's available for much cheaper prices, and there's more bang for your buck there too.

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